It’s DO OR DIE Time for the Three Speed October Challenge!

Hello, friends of Three Speeds! Today, Friday October 18th, is technically the LAST DAY you can START this challenge and complete it in time. So, are you on the fence? Now is the time to decide.

I’ve gone over how “the calendar” works in exhaustive (hopefully) detail in this post here. Please check it outHere if you have any questions.

But wait! Maybe you read this post on Saturday October 19th, or show up on my Seattle Three Speed Ride, and still want to do this! Guess what? You still have a chance if you do this:

  • Start the challenge TODAY, Saturday October 19 and do a ride TODAY.
  • Do a ride on Sunday October 20th.
  • Both those rides count toward week one, which would start on Monday, October 14th. This means you only filled in two rides in the first week. This is okay, but keep on reading…
  • Complete week two and three successfully, meaning all three rides for each week.
  • Commit to riding a Make Up Ride for the first week during the Make Up Weekend of November 1-3. (You can also do regular rides towards Week Three on other days that weekend.)

So lovers of Three Speeds: You still have time.

Right now, I am in Seattle enjoying the damp weather and getting ready for tomorrow’s ride. Hope you can join me!


Three Speed October 2019: My Week Three, Ride 2 (Mon 14 Oct)

On the ride in.

One ride away from completing my personal Three Speed October Challenge. Don’t worry folks, I’ll still be (mostly) riding my three speeds through the rest of the month!

I took out the Robin Hood path racer project again. I don’t ride this bike as much as my superb Superbe, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t love it. It’s just set up as a sportier (read: less capacity) bike. With its sexy Lauterwasser (the Soma repro) handlebars, it definitely looks like a fast bike. Nevermind that it’s still the same 20-30 HiTen steel as practically every other British three speed!*

I haven’t really done many changes to the bike since I built it up about two years ago. The only thing that’s been replaced (besides the chain) is tires. I’ve had four different sets since I built it up:

  • Schwalbe Delta Cruisers in cream. These were “hand-me-downs” from the Superbe.
  • Grand Bois tires. Yes, Grand Bois. 650A is still a common size in Japan, and Grand Bois is supposed to be the “best”. So I mistakenly took the advice of someone off the internet and located a pair of these impossible-to-find Japanese tires.** Yeah, they are the most supple tires you can find for 650A, but they were expensive (I paid $60 each) and yet were somehow narrower than any other common 26″ x 1 3/8″ tires, 32 mm wide. (Most common is 35-37 mm). They probably would have been the cat’s knees if they were the same width as Col de la Vies (40 mm), but at that narrowness the higher pressure I had to keep them at negated most of the benefits. I had them on for a couple months, then managed to compromise the sidewall on the front. So much for that.
  • Sunlite Nimbus tires, which I believe are just relabeled Kendas. I had a set on the old Rudge (found in a free pile) and liked them fine. In fact, I think they are probably the best of the cheap tires in this size, especially with their “hybrid” tread.
  • And now, Panaracer Col de La Vie. I like these tires, but decided they’d be better off on the sportier three speed vs. the more utilitarian Superbe.
The forelorn “bike corner” at the hostel.

Today’s ride was actually an honest-to-goodness commute. Most of my work happens at home, but on Monday October 14 I happened to cover a shift at my old job, the hostel. Yep, I stayed on the payroll and work an occasional shift (at best, once a month). Part of it is to keep those long-standing side-benefits of working at a hostel going. (Like staying for free at other hostels.) But part of it is to also remind me of why I left. There’s always the part of me that looks back on things and says, “Maybe that wasn’t so bad.”*** So I start to think, maybe I should have stuck around. Going back every once in awhile convinces me that I made the right decision, and sticking around for even two days a week would’ve been too much.

In any case, it was a nice 3 mile ride to work. A beautiful October day, sunny and in the mid-60’s. Fall has been really poppin’ here in Portland, and I paused at Laurelhurst Park to admire the color display.


Work at the hostel was, ehh. But I got to hang out with Blackie for a little bit, that’s all that matters!

The ride home was nice. It was a pleasant but cool evening, about 47F when I left the hostel. The bright B+M headlight powered by a Sanyo dynohub lit the way home.

Overall, six miles of riding today.

The ride home.

*Yes, I know about the fancy Lentons, Clubmans, and the like with their light 531 tubing. But let’s face it, 99% of the old British three speeds we see here in the US aren’t going to be that!

**Norther Cycles in North Portland was coincidentally placing a direct order with Grand Bois when I was searching.

***However, this hasn’t been the case for looking back at the five years at the house in Woodlawn. If anything, each passing day makes me realize how bad it all was.

Reminder: The SEATTLE Three Speed Ride is Saturday October 19

Hello folks, it’s less than a week until Society of Three Speeds first Seattle event! Hope you can make it.

Meet me at 11 AM on Saturday October 19, 2019. We shall meet by the fountain at Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Av in Capitol Hill.  At 11:30, we will roll out on a 15 mile scenic and leisurely day cruise, touring numerous sites in the Emerald City. We’ll have a stop mid-way through to have a good old brew up. (BYO tea/coffee, camp stove, or already brewed beverage. We’ll also have a store stop before it for snacks or last-minute supplies.) We’ll end at an establishment that can serve us adult beverages.

Here’s some notes about this ride.

  • This ride is RAIN or NOT RAIN. The weather forecast for Saturday doesn’t look thrilling, but this is the Northwest. Pack your raincape!
  • This ride is open to ALL BICYCLES. Three speed hub-geared bikes obviously preferred, but if you don’t have one, run what you brung!
  • RSVP is not required, but if you know you are coming, please drop me a line so I know how many folks to expect.
  • Cal Anderson Park is just a couple blocks from the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station.  So, it is an easy-to-get-to destination. If you are worried about starting on top of a hill, you can take the light rail to get there!
  • Speaking of hills: Yes, we are riding three speeds in hilly Seattle! But fear not, this ride will be mostly flat. There will be grades up to 6% within the first mile, but from there grades will be mellow. If the hill is too steep for your ability, it’s okay to walk it.
  • There will also be a bit of descent within the first couple miles. Please make sure your brakes are in tip-top shape!
  • Roads in Seattle can be a bit rough, with numerous potholes. Plus, we will be making at least one rail (if not two) rail crossings. Please be aware of your surroundings and use caution on the ride.
  • This ride is NOT A LOOP, and will end miles (and downhill) from our start point. I encourage you to ride or take public transportation to the start. If you do need to get back to the start point, it will be about two and a half more miles of riding for you to get to a Light Rail Station. Or it will be about a five mile ride all the way back.
  • This ride can count as one of your rides for Three Speed October 2019 Challenge.
  • This ride is open to members and non-members alike. Not a member but would like to become one? I’ll have some Society of Three Speeds membership kits available on the ride. If you are coming and interested in one, drop me a line so I can make sure I have enough.

Three Speed October 2019, The Monday Report: Oct 14

Hello folks! Welcome to another Monday during this beautiful Three Speed October. How’s everyone doing out there? But first, this important note:

This is the last week you can start the Three Speed October Challenge. In order to complete the Challenge by the end date of Sunday November 3, your first week must start on Monday October 14th. This also means your second week starts Monday October 21st, and third week Monday October 21st. Please note that your first ride doesn’t have to be on Monday October 14th. You can do your first ride as late as Friday October 18th. So this means Friday October 18th is the DO OR DIE date. See this post for more details.

Also, since it has been asked: If you decide to start the challenge NOW, but have done rides on three speeds in the past couple weeks, YES you can use these rides towards the challenge! Also, I will keep the registration open until Friday November 8th, so if you didn’t get around to registering, or figured you had enough rides to qualify, you can still get in on the action!

Okay, let’s get on to things. As of noon on Sunday October 13, 2019, we have:

  • 42 people who have registered for the challenge
  • 20 people who have completed and reported their first week
  • 7 people who have completed and reported their second week

I’m not going to share every bit of each report, but here’s some things that stuck out:

Enjoying week one, no spandex, gentle pace, makes a nice break !

Dave in Thunder Bay

A report from the aforementioned Dave (and Bev) in Thunder Bay:

We started week two with a change from our “around town” rides. We transported our bikes by vehicle to the hamlet of Silver Islet, a small seasonal community of rustic cottages located at the end of the Sibley peninsula outside Thunder Bay. Silver Islet was the site of a rich silver mine that operated in the 1870 to 1880 period (more information is available here: ).

After the closure of the mine, the community continued as a base for fishing and forestry, eventually becoming a summer cottage community. In the early days people and supplies arrived by ship from Prince Arthurs Landing/Port Arthur, now part of the city of Thunder Bay. There was no electricity or telephone connections to the town site until the 1990’s, although a highway was built to the hamlet in 1940.

A relatively short ride of 6.2 km (3.8 miles) with a 69m (226 ft.) elevation gain, essentially the main (only) road through the hamlet with a return loop along the highway. Even so, standard gearing had us grinding to a halt on some short steep climbs and relying on the “24 inch” gear:

However, “what goes up must come down” and we were able to use third gear on the last downhill, reaching 47.6 kph (on the Humber) without spinning out!

We encountered a brief rain shower near the end.

Macintosh HD:Users:daveknutson:Downloads:DSCF2304.jpg
1950’s Humber roadster, Dave’s bike for the ride.

Macintosh HD:Users:daveknutson:Downloads:73-Raleigh.jpg
1973 Raleigh Colt, Bev’s bike for the ride

And Tim in Springfield, Ore. has some pics of his first week:

We’ve got some reports from 3Speed Seattle:

Three Speed October 10/7

Week Two, Ride One

Miles: 4

Monday, and it’s the start of my “weekend.” Which means time for me to head to the pool to get in some lap swimming time. My usual pool is the Evans Pool at Green Lake, which means I have to bicycle up Stone Way Hill (5% grade). Living at the bottom of Stone Way, I have to bike up said hill alot. 

After my swim, I decided to add in a nice, leisurely ride around the lake before heading home. From the cloudy, windy weather, this might be my last non-raining day for awhile. 

Three Speed October 10/8

Week Two, Ride Two

Miles: 8

On Tuesday nights, I frequently make my way from my place up to a pizza place on Aurora Ave to hang out with friends. This requires climbing Stone Way, circling half of Green Lake, and then climbing again. 

Despite the weather getting pretty cold lately, I knew I would over-heat trying to gain elevation, so I stuck to a t-shirt for the ride up. I brought a sweatshirt to throw on for the downhill trip home, though! Got to catch a lovely sunset over Green Lake

Three Speed October 10/9

Week Two, Ride Three

Miles: 8

A bright, sunny October day meant a good day for me to bicycle to Ballard to visit my Captain. Of course, no matter how good the weather is, biking through Ballard itself is always a mess due to the “Missing Link” of the Burke-Gilman trail. I’ve finally given up on risking my life on Shilshole Ave and instead go two blocks up onto Leary Way, which is equally industrial but is 4 lanes, so the drivers are less homicidal. 

A bunch of road construction means that Ballard is even more of a nightmare to ride through then usual, but I finally managed to make it. Then, on my way home, I paused at the grocery store to pick up a little friend. 


And to close it off, here’s a selection of Instagram posts:

Coffeeneuring 2019, Ride 1: To Jet Black Coffee

My first Coffeeneuring Ride of 2019 also is my Week Three, Ride One for Three Speed October!

Urban Adventure League

Welcome to another year of the Coffeeneuring Challenge! This annual event, headed up by the esteemed Mary of Chasing Mailboxes, has been going on for most of the decade. I’ve participated every year since 2013. I’ve completed every year (getting in the requisite seven rides) except last year, when I only got six. This year, I hope to get all seven.

I had hoped to start this year’s Challenge on the first day possible, Friday October 11. But due to work obligations, it wasn’t going to happen. But Saturday October 12 was wide open, plus a pretty decent October day: partly cloudy, high of 60F/16C.

This year, Mary added a new wrinkle to the challenge: The optional Control Card. You can fill out a report like they do on a Randonneuring Event! I thought it was a cool concept. But rather than print out something, how about doing it in…

View original post 976 more words

Three Speed October 2019: The rest of my second week

It’s been exciting times around the SoTS HQ this Three Speed October: Forty people have registered so far, about 10 have reported their first week. I’ve been pretty much been riding my Raleigh Superbe since the start of the Challenge, so it’s been pretty easy for me to get the requisite three rides a week in.

My Week Two started on Friday October 4, but my first ride wasn’t until Saturday October 5th. This was the Three Speed Ride as reported here.

Since then, I’ve completed two more rides towards Week Two:

  • Sunday October 6: Emee and I did a 5 mile round-trip on a gorgeous evening. First, dinner at Nicholas Restaurant (the one on NE Broadway) for their great Lebanese food. Then across the street to pick up groceries at New Seasons Market Grant Park.
  • Monday October 7: A 4 mile pre Coffeneuring Challenge practice run right around dark. A slice of pizza and a mocha at Albina Press on SE Hawthorne to do a little drawing for #inktober2019 (Multi-tasking. 😁) There’s not a lot of “late” (past 6 PM) coffee shops in town, so I was happy to find out that Albina Press stays open until 8! 

Alright, so how is everyone’s Three Speed October Challenge going? Let’s see your reports! Oh yeah, everyone should also attempt the Coffeeneuring Challenge, especially on their three speeds!